Manchester’s cultural sector leads sustainable construction boom in 2022, according to Deloitte Crane Survey

7th February 2023, 8:30 am

  • 381,000 sq ft of new leisure and retail space commenced construction in 2022, alongside record delivery of over 1,500 new hotel rooms
  •     702,000 sq ft of office space completed, with construction levels above 15-year average
  •     2,724 new homes delivered, the first decline in seven years
  •     Education construction remained strong with 263,000 sq ft delivered in 2022

Manchester and Salford’s development market continued to demonstrate strong growth, with 25 new projects commencing construction in 2022 and 57 schemes under construction. Notably, the city’s cultural sector saw the greatest transformation amidst sustained expansion, whilst office construction remained resilient, according to Deloitte’s annual Manchester Crane Survey.

Now in its 23rd year, the Manchester Crane Survey monitors construction activity across a range of sectors including offices, residential, hotels, retail and education, and is seen as a barometer of developer sentiment and future supply.

Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality

Selected as Best In Travel 2023 by Lonely Planet and the only UK destination to appear in National Geographic’s Best of the World 2023, Manchester’s leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors continued to thrive in 2022. With 381,000 sq ft of leisure and retail space currently under construction, developments including Factory and Co-op Live Arena will only further strengthen the city’s existing cultural offerings of sport, entertainment and live music.

With increasing numbers of tourists visiting Manchester, as well as eased travel restrictions taking effect, Manchester’s hotel market boomed in 2022 with 1,504 rooms delivered, nearly matching the previous three years combined (1,594). Notable tourist attractions delivered in 2022 included the opening of the Mayfield park – the first new park in the city centre in over 100 years. The park has delivered 2.6 hectares of green space to the city centre, including 142 new trees and almost 300,000 plants, supporting targets set out by the Manchester Climate Change Agency of achieving Net Zero by 2038.

Joanne Roney, chief executive officer of Manchester City Council, said: “As a city, we’re incredibly proud of our strong cultural ties, providing a diverse and vibrant destination for people from around the world. The last few years have only worked to solidify this, with work underway on major cultural attractions including Factory International, Co-op Live and the completion of the Mayfield park ensuring Manchester remains one of the UK’s most exciting destinations for tourists and residents alike.”

Commercial Offices

The end of 2022 saw a total of six office developments complete across Manchester and Salford, delivering 702,000 sq ft of new floor space. Notably, Enterprise City provided 402,900 sq ft of office space in the St. John’s area, with tenants such as global media giant WPP and representing Manchester’s continued global competitiveness.

With hybrid work patterns driving demand for high quality office spaces that prioritise the employee experience, the pipeline for commercial office space also remains strong. A total of six office developments remained under construction, set to deliver 1.7m sq ft of office floor space, sitting above the 15-year average of 1.1m sq ft.

John Cooper, partner at Deloitte, said: “New builds still dominate the market, making up 89% of office space currently under construction and new schemes are increasingly pushing the boundaries in terms of environmental credentials as they look to future proof against market trends and what is a rapidly evolving area of the office market. Refurbishments currently make up 11% as owners look to minimise embodied carbon and future proof their estates.

“With many companies now choosing hybrid working models, it’s encouraging to see such a strong pipeline of office space development driven by a desire for more flexible office space utillisation, enhanced environmental credentials and overall quality of employee experience. In addition, as new EPC minimum requirements hit commercial offices in 2025 and again in 2027 as well as 2030, the ESG credentials of existing office spaces is likely to only further increase, particularly as owners are compelled to retrofit and decarbonise their existing estate.”


Despite 2022 seeing a slight fall in completions of residential developments, the market still remained buoyant. By the end of 2022 2,734 homes were delivered to market, marking the first decrease in seven years. However, the pipeline of new homes remained strong, with 11,759 homes in the pipeline ensuring a steady flow of homes being delivered over the next three years based on anticipated completion dates.

Salford City Centre has remained the leading area for residential development, with 13,578 homes completed since 2014. In Manchester City Centre, Great Jackson Street has helped to deliver 2,632 homes since 2014, notably with the Deansgate Towers development catalysing the regeneration of the area and becoming a focal point in the city’s skyline. Ancoats and New Islington has also helped to deliver 2,760 new homes.

Cooper added: “An increase in city centre living means people’s commutes are shorter and they have access to more sustainable modes of transport. It’s helping to facilitate a more sustainable way of living and driving a reduction of CO2 emissions per capita across Manchester. Residential hubs also supporting businesses in the area through additional footfall, ultimately driving growth in the local economy.

“As we continue to see new residential developments across Manchester, what’s clear is the need to design neighbourhoods in a manner that ensures they can successfully co-exist with leisure and cultural activities that sit at the heart of Manchester’s identity and are important hubs for the city’s economy.”


Throughout 2022, Manchester remained at the forefront of providing world-leading higher education facilities, delivering 263,000 sq ft of floor space, with a further 306,000 sq ft to be delivered in 2023.

Manchester Metropolitan University’s new School of Digital Arts (SODA) provided state of the art facilities to aid the development of Manchester’s rapidly growing tech and creative sectors. The facilities delivered in 2022 also helped to solidify the Oxford Road corridor as a world leading research hub, working to both attract and retain talent in the region.

The higher than anticipated intake of students across universities in Manchester in 2022 demonstrated the ongoing popularity of the city as a place to study. In order to address this increasing demand and ensure continued competitiveness, with students returning to campus for the 2022/23 academic year, the universities are currently reviewing their requirements and working with the city council to assess the appropriateness of existing planning policy and review the pipeline of potential PBSA development sites.

When looking ahead to the next few years of development in Manchester, Cooper said: “As in previous years, Manchester is showing positive levels of development as we head further in 2023. Despite economic headwinds there is much to be excited about, with a strong development pipeline promising key investments in green economic growth and enhanced resilience.

“With sustainability sitting at the heart of Manchester’s strategy, transport will be a particular focus. As the city council aims to reduce car-based trips into the city, continued investment into cycling infrastructure, enhanced walking and cycling routes and the ongoing process of removing cars from the city centre will all be priorities. Other, larger scale projects will help to further consolidate this, including planned expansions to the Metrolink and expanding Greater Manchester’s greener modes of transport.”

Next Article

Innovation-led Assets Drive 68% Increase In Pre-Tax Profits At Bruntwood

Bruntwood reports pre-tax profit of £75.2m (2021: £44.9m) – the second-best results in the group’s 46-years of trading Net asset […]
Read Article